Decisions

…And I am Culturally Incorrect.

I’ve been thinking about the responsibility that comes with being at the receiving end of a gift, a favor or a service. One that doesn’t require an exchange of any sort other than the traditional “ Thank you” or “ I am grateful”.

How far do the impacts of such acts of kindness go? For example, someone buys you a birthday present, do you have to in return, purchase the said friend a gift as well?
Now, if you do, is it because you received a present as well, or is it because you actually wish her well?

Or siblings, when you do something for your brother- that white lie( we both know lies aren’t ever white), does she have to lie for you back?

How far does this “reciprocation” reach? How long does it take to eventually pay a debt?

Actually, my question is more of: is there a debt?

Does a child owe the parents his/her life?

Because you are on this earth only because two people made it possible by the heavenly guided meeting of a sperm and an egg( never thought I would ever use a variant of “heaven” and “sperm” in the same sentence in my lifetime), does this mean all your actions, your dreams, your desires, your goals must be approved by your parents.

Is that it?

I have a feeling that I will be called out as trying to copy the West. You know what? Spare no expense. I am copying the West. But keep in mind that I am very mindful of my context. I know where I come from- a Christian family, with catholic married parents. I went to boarding school for seven years and I have a degree from one of the best Universities in the country. So far, I haven’t been convicted and I am not a father. I neither drink nor smoke for sport.

If that doesn’t establish my “uprightedness”, I don’t know what will.

( Then again, worse crimes have been committed by people with a “saner” profile. But…just bear with me)

There is a term I have been fascinated with recently-“Cultural correctness”. I define it as :

“ deliberately avoiding cultural offense;relating to or supporting the use of language or conduct that deliberately avoids giving offense when it comes to what is acceptable by a community.

Yes, you’re right, I stole the term from political correctness.

Now, my “special” definition limits to the behaviors governing those of children towards elders. In the Cameroonian African environment.

Case in point: You’re 16. You love biology. You watch discovery channel in the morning afternoon and evening. When asked why you don’t watch cartoons, you don’t even get the point of the question.
Duh!
Now, you pass the GCE advanced level. You have 5 papers. Awesome grades. You’re going to the Uni.
Yay!
Not so fast.

Mom thinks you’ll make a great doctor. Dad agrees. One of your Aunts is a medical practioner. Both parents call her name with so much respect.

You would love to study biology. Probably get a Phd. Even have your TV show. You try to argue.
Mom isn’t happy. Dad broods. You consider their option.
“It’s not so bad..” you tell yourself.
You’re smart. So you write the the entrance exam. You make it. Every one is ecstatic! The new family doctor is born!

The family biologist just died. You just became a victim of what I call: emotional blackmail ( note to self: write blog post on this. You’ve been a victim way too many times).

How often do we not stand up for what we really want?

How many times do we sit silent and just do what we are told even when we know that we don’t want to. When we can feel our stomach and every nerve in your body telling you this is a bad idea.

Here are some of the verbal cues of emotional blackmail:
This is Cameroon. Not Europe.
You need experience.
You’re in the virtual world. Reality doesn’t work like that.
Who will pay for this??
Where do you think you are?
You’re going to give me a heart attack.
What about your brothers?
What kind of example are you showing.

OR my favourite…

You’ve changed. I don’t recognize you anymore.

You see, I know all too well all (or a lot) about emotional blackmail and cultural correctness. I have suffered from it for a while. But, recently, I have fought my biggest battle ever.

The battle against the voice in my head. I haven’t won the war. But this post, is part of the battle. The war never ends.

And here are ways to recognize people like me- us- who wage this battle everyday.
We are labelled: stubborn, reckless, selfish, rebels, inconsiderate, bad examples, {Insert other derogatory term to describe someone who does what he or she knows to be what is true to his or her DNA.

( Ok, there is a fine line between someone who knows exactly what he or she wants, and someone who is plain confused. Both seem as confident, only time will tell the difference.)

There are others who can stay culturally correct and live a truly decent and happy life. Many who follow what their parents and elders tell them and find true happiness. I have a friend who wrote the entrance exam even though he didn’t want to be a medical doctor. Today, he’s one of the happiest people I know.

There is no harm in listening to counsel and doing as you’re told.

But if you’re not one of those people, if you’re not built to follow orders, if your heart knows what you’re good at, if your DNA tells you the path to follow…if you’re like me…

Then by all means, I urge you to be culturally incorrect! Please!

Learn the rules, break them- but don’t break the law. Give the world an authentic, true, original version of yourself.

By all means- do not listen to me , your parents or anyone. Find yourself. Shine your light.

Am I asking you to be disobedient? To leave home and be stranded because some idiot on the internet said so?
Nah. I won’t take responsibility for what you do. That’s the whole point of being culturally incorrect.

You make your choices. And you deal with the consequences. No pain, no gain.

But, before you chicken out , let me give you a list:

Steve Jobs, The Beatles, Ev William, Bongajum Leslie, Spielberg, Cameron, Bekolo, Francoise Elong.

These may all be artists. But I want to believe that if these people (and many like them) who have changed the face of music, movies, the internet – if they had listened to those who loved them and wanted them to be safe, we would not be benefiting from their true art.

My name is Tchassa Kamga. And I am culturally incorrect.

What about you?

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Do we really need this much information?

Factions and influences.
The decisions we make and the lies we let,
to ourselves, our loves and our hidden thirsts.

Which side are you on? How much do you long?
To be free of belonging. To be uninfluenced, fluently.
Stop. Think of the garbage around.

Like “surround sound”, we let our voices drown.
In the market place of ideas- more (spider)web than highway.
A world wide mesh of anonymous influences.

Have we ever been this connected?
In history, has there ever been such a time?
That a single individual, behind a keyboard and a hidden address, could cause so much pain without restraint.

Or such a time, that a soothing tweet could stop your tears?
Or a heartfelt post resonate from China to Bambili.
Never has a quote been able to dish the right dose of dopamine.

Have we ever been this connected?
Multiple factions: #IAMXXX. #BRINGBACKOURXXX, #NOTOXXX
So much noise. So much content.

Will the Asimov  be right?
Will AI take over? Will Aliens attack?
Or… are we in The Matrix?

Stop. Think of the garbage around.
The good garbage.
And the bad garbage.

I don’t think we need so much information to start.
In fact, I purport that excess of it is the problem.

Boh, You’ll be fine

[ I wrote this for you. But I thought of all the others like us who feel this way sometimes. I hope you don’t mind that I posted it here.
I know you you won’t mind :)]

Life’s short boh.
I’m sure you’ve lost more than one person you really cared about.
Someone you’ll never see again.
You have an obligation to make that love worth it.
You have a duty, as the one left, to live a happy life.
A joyful life. A meaningful life.

You are going to have troubles. Shit storms. Hate.
You’re going to feel fucked.
A lot of the time, you’ll wonder whether this life is worth the trouble.

“All di suffer na for wheti sef”?

Those are the times when you need to forget about the who- you.
Forget about the when- now.
About the what-life.
And think about the why-the why.

Why are you here? Why were you born? Why are you alive?

To suffer? To hate?
To love? To create?
To be angry? To stay sad?
To destroy? To build?
To support? To enable?
Why did He let you see today?

Why aren’t you dead?

In you darkest moments, when you’ve disappointed everyone. When your eyes swell with sorrow. When your head bows in shame. When your alarm rings. When you get the rejection email. When she says no. When he cheats.

When you think to yourself: Lord, why is this happening to me?
The answer is in the question.
It is happening because it IS happening.

Because.

Your existence is bigger than you can comprehend.
The sacrifice for your salvation is larger than your puny mind can mingle with.
You are bigger than you think.
Don’t let the petty roadblocks of this stream called “life” derail you my friend.

Get up. Smile. See how far you’ve come.

If you could do anything in the world? What would it be?
Guess what? Your existence is a miracle. The air you breathe is another chance. Your heartbeat is hope for a better future.

Every pain is a reminder of the joy of peace.
Every tear is a collection of the price of freedom from all kinds of slavery.
Boh, you don’t have time to regret.
There’s this gift the Lord sent to us all. I’d like to have piece of it too.
It’s the gift of “you”.
Thank you for being you.
Go. Be. Live.

I love you boh. You’re a gift. I’m here.